International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization


Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda



Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme: Phase II

East African countries have abundant bamboo resources, but the plant’s full potential for poverty alleviation, job creation and environmental protection has not been fully realized. Running from 2020 to 2023, phase II of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme is working to transfer knowledge, technologies and policy experiences from Europe and Asia to help develop the bamboo sector in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, making it organized, efficient, vibrant and visible.

Read about the first phase of the project, which ran from 2016 to 2019.

Project objectives

The general objective of the program is to enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits by developing inclusive and sustainable industrial and small and medium-sized enterprises’ bamboo value chains resulting in enhanced livelihood opportunities, food security, and environment management in East Africa. The program is expected to provide direct benefits to some 28,500 people, as well as restore 5000 hectares of degraded land with bamboo and enhance sustainable management practices for 5000 hectares of existing bamboo plantations and farms. The target groups include smallholder farmers, women, youth, small-to-medium enterprises and larger industries.

Specific objectives

  • Develop, upscale and diversify inclusive bamboo value chains, on both an industrial and a smaller-to-medium scale.
  • Restore and sustainably manage bamboo resources, contributing to decreased deforestation, enhanced carbon sinks, and increased climate resilience for ecosystems and livelihoods.
  • Enhance market development and policy and regulatory framework for increased public and private sector investment in the bambooindustry

In 2020, the project staff organized 37 training courses for over 1000 trainees, which focused on how to establish bamboo micro-enterprises and how to link these to larger bamboo companies. A more formal vocational education curriculum is being developed, which will focus on training occupational skills for industrial bamboo processing and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition to SMEs, the program is working to assist two new, larger bamboo businesses: GreenPot Enterprises in Kenya and Kontiki Bamboo Works in Uganda.

The program facilitated the establishment of 24 bamboo nurseries for the government and private sector and supported smallholder farmers to plant bamboo on almost 1000 hectares of land. More than 1100 smallholder bamboo growers received training on how to sustainably manage their bamboo resources.

The program has also been working to promote bamboo business development. Bamboo knowledge centers have been established in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to provide business advice and support to prospective entrepreneurs. Locations have been identified to create bamboo depots – an important requirement for creating steady supply chains for enterprises.

The program has been supporting Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to finalize bamboo product standards and kickstart the process for forestry certification by the Forest Stewardship Council in Ethiopia.


To strengthen pro-poor industry and SME value chains, the program has provided 56 capacity-building training for small-scale bamboo entrepreneurs, industry workers, and government experts. The training was aimed at strengthening the capacity in nursery development and management, bamboo sustainable management and harvesting, bamboo handy craft and furniture making, and business development services. Two bamboo course curriculums have been developed by the Ethiopian government and ten potential TVET colleges have been identified to offer bamboo processing courses in 2022. Similar efforts are also in the pipeline in Kenya and Uganda. The program has also established two bamboo charcoal briquette enterprises in Kenya and Uganda.

Bamboo sector development is essentially dependent on sustainable bamboo resource management and restoration. Accordingly,

The program supported 36 large-scale nurseries and established 67 women and youth small-scale nurseries. These nurseries produced a total of 3,146,746 bamboo quality planting materials creating employment for 654 youths (193 men and 461 women). It has also conducted three site-species matching studies in collaboration with partner implementers in the target countries, assessing and validating the growth and performance of indigenous and exotic bamboo species, and shortlisting and providing recommendations for the expansion of selected species for different agro-climatic clusters and end-use. In 2021, the program established 1173.30 ha of new bamboo plantations, which makes the total plantation achievement of the program 2469.27 ha. A total of 560.78 ha of bamboo forest and farms have been brought under the sustainable management regime, and the overarching achievement of the bamboo sustainable management regime is 1029.23 ha of land, which supported 1998 beneficiaries (798 men and 1200 women). Moreover, the program team has been working on a bamboo carbon credit project in Uganda and it has conducted a feasibility study on the development and certification of a bamboo afforestation project for carbon emission reductions and livelihood development in the country.


The project has been working on developing a reliable supply chain, capacity building, skill, research and technology, market development and scaling up, and the replication of best practices in bamboo sector development. It has been striving to develop and strengthen the pro-poor industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) value chains to help create inclusive job opportunities, improve livelihoods and empower communities in the implementation countries. In so doing, it has continued building the capacity of smallholders, enterprise employees and owners, and government technical experts. In the first semester of 2022, the project conducted 21 skill development training for 475 beneficiaries, and 11 SMEs were supported with tools to enhance their production efficiency. It has been providing hand-holding support to 2396 households for the making of bamboo charcoal briquettes in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. The project has also completed four technical and vocational education and training curriculums on bamboo, comprising teaching, training, and learning materials in Ethiopia, while the same task is in progress in Kenya and Uganda.

Restoration and sustainable management of bamboo resources is another pillar of progress, the project procured 100 kg bamboo seeds from India and distributed them to 12 nurseries in Kenya and Uganda. It has also been providing technical support to 24 small nurseries, and 2.75 million quality planting materials are now ready for plantation. Site-species matching studies of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda are completed and the study from Ethiopia has been published in a scientific journal. Capacity-building activities have been conducted on nursery management, sustainable harvesting, and clumps management. Also, four Transfer Of Technology courses were delivered for the 152 line department officials on nursery development and management and nine community-level smallholders training benefited 393 participants.

The bamboo carbon credit initiative in collaboration with Climate Impact UK and Face the Future Netherlands is progressing in Uganda, and site selection has now been finalized in the Agago district of the country.

With regards to enhancing the business and trade environment of beneficiary countries, the project has been providing support in the adoption and ratification of national and international bamboo standards. Accordingly, seven product standards have been ratified in Ethiopia on bamboo curtain, bamboo charcoal generalities, bamboo charcoal fuel application, bamboo charcoal purification application, bamboo flooring indoor uses, and bamboo structures. The project has also been working on the establishment of “bamboo depots” as a multi-product supply chain for linkages with the SMEs and industries and to integrate all actors to reduce inefficiencies in the existing value chains. The multi-supply chain has been linked with primary and secondary cooperatives. During the period five new cooperatives have been registered with the involvement of 750 beneficiaries.

Moreover, bamboo associations for the private sectors of the beneficiary countries have been supported. Accordingly, the bamboo associations of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda are now operational with five-year strategic plans and independent offices, and public communications websites.

Contact details

For more information about the project, please contact:

  • Selim Reza, Programme Manager, selim [at] inbar [dot] int, Ethiopia
  • Fiker Assefa Tareke, National Project Coordinator, fatareke [at] inbar [dot] int, Ethiopia
  • Nellie Caroline Mugure Oduor, National Project Coordinator, ncmoduor [at] inbar [dot] int, Kenya
  • Michael Malinga: National Project Coordinator, mmalinga [at] inbar [dot] int, Uganda
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